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Pro Boxing Cards Hold Their Own With NBA Finals

BY David A. Avila ON June 17, 2009
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Los Angeles is hot right now with the L.A. Lakers winning the NBA championship, the L.A. Dodgers leading the Major Leagues in wins, and the L.A. Angels of Anaheim beginning to slip into second gear.

It would seem professional team sports are dominating the sport’s scene in California. But that’s not the case.

Professional fighting dominated the Golden State’s landscape with almost a dozen pro shows in two days despite the Lakers game four against the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. Each show was a near or complete sell out.

California’s state motto should be: “Provides more professional fight cards than any other region in the nation.”

From San Jose to Ontario, professional fight cards were produced in conveyor belt fashion causing a quandary for California State Athletic Commission officials in providing supervision.

With four fight cards on Thursday emanating from Los Angeles, Commerce, Irvine and Highland, not only officials were spread out but fans as well. The next night, on Friday, fight cards in Ontario, Glendale and San Jose took place.

Each of the events including historic fights at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles and a fight card in Glendale on Friday brought standing room only crowds.

Recession or not, pro fight cards are thriving.

“Anybody want to stay until breakfast,” joked matchmaker Alex Camponovo of Thompson Boxing Promotions after more than 1,900 fans watched bouts past midnight in Ontario. “This was one of our best cards.”

The night before, at Club Nokia, a swanky new night club located in the brand new LA Live, an entertainment center across the street from Staples Center, Golden Boy Promotions put on the first boxing card in the theater that seats about 2,000.

Meanwhile, on the same night, the Lakers led by Kobe Bryant were colliding with the new kids on the block Orlando Magic, who are led by a new guy posing as Superman.

It was boxing versus the NBA Finals and when it was all over, the fight card led by Oxnard’s David Rodela, Paramount’s Charles Huerta and Santa Ana’s Luis Ramos had put 1,800 fans in the seats.

Now someone might argue that these were not basketball fans. That argument was shot down immediately after the fight card concluded. Almost all of the 1,800 fans stayed in the club to watch the final quarter of the Lakers game in which Derek Fisher scored the tying three-pointer and the club erupted with cheers and shrieks.

Boxing remains a crowd favorite in not only Los Angeles, but also the entire state.

The next night, about 12 miles from downtown L.A., the Glendale Civic Auditorium sold all of its tickets for the first pro boxing show in 60 years. It was a historic moment sparked by promoter Kahren Harutyunyan who pushed Glendale City Council to revoke a ban on boxing with the aid of fellow promoter Steve Bash. Together they succeeded in bringing the sport to L.A’s neighbor to the north.

Last week’s head-to-head battle with the NBA, and with each other, proved that professional fight cards are not slowing down for the recession or Lakers succession.

Now all California needs is someone to lead the California State Athletic Commission that is without a permanent executive officer. Still, even without a captain, the ship is still on course.

The next CSAC meeting is scheduled for June 22 in Los Angeles.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 7 p.m., Fernando Beltran Jr. (32-3-1) vs. Monty Meza-Clay (28-2).

Fri. Versus, 9 p.m., Adrian Diaconu (26-0) vs. Jean Pascal (22-1).

Sat. ESPN Classic, 2 p.m., Wladimir Klitschko (52-3) vs. Ruslan Chagaev (25-0-1).

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